Saturday, October 06, 2007

Shekhawati - Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan

Photos from our recent trip to Shekhawati in Rajasthan. The region is dotted with towns and villages with painted Havelis. These Havelis are mansions belonging to Marwaris, a merchant community belonging to Marwar in Rajasthan. The region of Shekhawati had several caravan trade routes which made it an ideal spot for the merchants. The region prospered untill early 19th century. Then, as Bombay and Calcutta emerged as major industrial and trading centers, Marwaris migrated to those cities. But they didnt leave their homes deserted. Their success in the new found venues reflected back in homeland in the form of elaborate Havelis. These Havelis were further decorated with frescos as a display of their wealth and stature.

Most Havelis we see today in Shekhawati belongs to the period of 1850s to 1930s. Many of the major industrial houses in India has their roots in these Marwari towns, such as Birlas, Singhanias, Ruias...

We didnt explore much in the region. Its supposed to be some 6-8 must visit towns and the Havelis in those locations. We stayed in one of the major towns, Mandawa, some 20km from Jhunjunu. There we had the luxury of staying in one of those havelis 'Mandawa Haveli' now turned to be a hotel.

On the photographs,

1. On our way to Mandawa, there was this beautiful scene with some 2 dozens parrots perched in one of the trees. Captured a close shot having three of them.
2. Woman near one of the Havelis. She was okay being photographed, provided we pay her.
3. A sample fresco for you. Very few colors - indigo, sandstone red, vegetable green, grey etc. Frescoes in these Havelis are primarily themed on the mythological will also find contemporary elements of the age like ships, cruises, guns, military, hourse carriage etc
4. Haveli we stayed, lit in the night. It was a great stay and good food there..

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